Gareth Lee

New Poems From the USA


With our hands, we may make shadows
but not steeples. In the new slaughter-
house, we may convene these demons.
Thus we have instruments for “escape.”
For elk and duck were shot to validate
the menu, where at the diner chatting
is dull because life is dull; for we spice
things up, i.e. butter hardtack bread
and so things slide in us too quickly to
have us conceive the fullness of the act,
really. And we can place proximate
blame on our immediate elders. They
were duped to be here. But that itself
goes nowhere. Nor does swimming in
lake water and swallowing lake water
and beating off like fish when the owner
discovers the trespass. It excites us to
be here, we sometimes lie convincingly,
in the stories we tell. It makes us most
profoundly interested in other places,
other towns that are not a closed circuit;
whose streets don’t all lead to certain
landmarks; whose young theologians
don’t ask how many angels could shoot
through a needle and have one OD;
where no one is always so interested in
what we do. With our hands, we may
pack eloquence in our throats or cause
a stammer; hasten the act in question.